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No peace without democracy

Can the disillusioned youth of Cabo Delgado really be told that the right outlet for their frustration is the ballot box?

Good afternoon. Could the conflict in Cabo Delgado really be coming to an end? This week’s edition of Cabo Ligado, out today, returns to that topic; and a forthcoming piece in the March Monthly report will also note that the insurgents seem to be shifting away from violence towards a ‘hearts and minds’ approach, which may be driven by their losing the upper hand militarily.

But if the Mozambique government, with its allies, is able to win the war, can it go on to win the peace? Much has been made, since the start of the conflict, of how a likely driver is economic inequality and exclusion. Moves have been made, in fits and starts, to mitigate that; various economic development strategies and programmes have been conceived and to some extent implemented in Cabo Delgado and northern Mozambique more broadly.

But what about political inclusion? Can we, hand on heart, tell the disillusioned youth of Cabo Delgado that the right outlet for their frustration is the ballot box?

District elections are being cancelled; the municipal election in Mocímboa da Praia may be cancelled; marches in memory of the rapper Azagaia were banned or brutally put down, with the explicit reason that people associated with opposition parties were taking part. Meanwhile Frelimo is allowed to continue its marches. Fundamentally, Mozambicans know that change cannot come through any democratic process worthy of the name.

Political inclusion does form a part of the US’ new 10-year strategy to “Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability” in Mozambique; the State Department realises that Mozambicans need “equal opportunities to be active participants in political, economic, and social processes.” The history of independent Mozambique suggests that that insight has passed Frelimo by. But without it, any peace is likely to be unsustainable.


  • Today: India's External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar begins three-day official visit to Mozambique

The latest from Zitamar News:

Cabo Ligado Weekly: 3-9 April 2023

  • Security forces accused of brutalising civilians
  • Does the lack of insurgent activity mean the war is over?
  • Renamo wants to cancel Mocímboa da Praia municipal election

Also available in Portuguese

From the Zitamar Live Blog:

Zitamar Mozambique Live Blog
Islamic State Mozambique has announced the death of one of its senior members, Mustafa al-Tanzani. This was likely his nom de guerre and little is known about his real identity, other than that his name suggests he was from Tanzania. The Centre for Democracy and Development in Mozambique identified…

Also in the news:

  • Mozambique ends covid vaccination and test requirement for visitors
  • Authorities seize 124.5kg ‘heavy drugs’ at South Africa border
  • Manuel de Araújo denies he plans to join Nova Democracia party
Today’s front pages in Maputo. Photo © Faizal Chauque / Zitamar News

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